FAQ, Frequently Asked Question About Ukulele

One of the largest collection of information for ukulele on the Internet.

Where is that uke made?

Ever ask where is this or that ukulele made?.

MusicguyMic has answered that question on the Flea Market Music Bulletin Board.

These are Chinese

Lanikai, Ohana, Vineyard, Clear water, Stagg, Hula Ukes, Kalas, Hamano, Mahalo, Hilo, Duke Kahanomoku, Morelli, Sunburst, Bushman, Galveston. Rogue, Fortune, Tempo, Johnson, Oscar Schmidt, Leolani, OMI, Santini, Koa Pili Koko, and countless others....

These are made in Hawaii

Kamaka, Koaloha, Ko’olau , Kanilea, Gstring, Kelii, Maui Music

Made in Phillipines

Hana, Mele, Nice

Made In Korea

some bugsgears, Applause, Kiwayas some older models

and the list goes on...

Em7/A

Em7/A is a slash chord. Technically an 11th chord. Which can contains the chord tones E G B D F# A. the 1 b3 5 b7 9 11 of a major scale.

If you know Em7 voicings then.

For 9th - From Em7 raise the root two frets for Em9 For 11th - From Em7 or Em9 raise the 3 (b3) two frets from Em11 or Em9/11

The /A (slash A) indicates that the composer wanted A to be the lowest note of the voicing. If playing with a bass player, good guitar player or piano player they will handle the low A. So you can ignore the A or try to get the A low. On ukulele the slash chord note is ignored. Some guitar player also ingore these as well.

(Ukulele Note) In high G "C" tuning there is not low A. In low "G tuning there is an A on string 4 fret (2) so 2 4 3 2 ( A E G B, 11 1 3 5) would work to get the essence of Em7/A. An eleventh chords can have an option ninth. For Em7 the ninth is F#. So 2 4 2 2 is cool (A E F# B, 11 1 9 5).

The main notes or color tones of an Em7/A chord to get the characteristic sound of the chord are the b3 b7 9 and 11 or G D F# A so for ukulele in "C" tuning a 2 2 2 0 fingering will work.

As you can see knowing how chords are created and the importance the chord tones is a powerful tool for creating chord voicings on any instrument.

Summary from ideal to get by. In fact just a basic Em or Em7 might work depending on the context.

Possible Notes for Em7/A: E G B D F# A

For Ukulele

2 4 3 2 - A E G B
2 4 2 2 - A E F# B
0 2 2 0 - G D F# A
2 2 2 2 - A D F# B

There are other possibilities up the neck. These are the open position options.

Check out the UkuleleLessons on chords.

Beyond learning basic Ukulele chords most players struggle with advanced chords. Commonly called “jazz” chords, these more sophisticated voicings find a wide use in all forms of music.

A Guide to Advanced Chords for Ukulele presents a highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of advanced chords. Chord dictionaries are not the answer. Even chord theory does not offer any insight into unraveling the complexity of Ukulele chord voicings.

If your goal is to expand your chord vocabulary, A Guide to Advanced Chords for Ukulele is your answer.

Creating 9th Chords

Raise the root of any chord and you have a ninth chord. Either a 4-part 9th chords or an add9 or add2 triad.

As ninths are upper partials or extensions they like to be in the top voicing of the chord. They especially do not like being the lowest note. In those case we can displace the third by lowering, a minor third one fret or a major third two frets.

The above method does hinge on knowing the chord tones of any given chord and the notes of the fingerboard.

This IS the easiest method to use to create chords. Only the major, minor, diminished and augmented 4-part chord types need to be memorized and you can create ninth chords on the fly as well as 11th, 13th, alterted 5, 11, 9 etc..

So bottom line raise the root two frets or optionaly displace the third if the ninth would be the lowest note and doesn't sound good.

Row 1 shows the results of raising the root of 7th chords two frets and row 2 using the options lowering of the third two frets.

Beyond learning basic Ukulele chords most players struggle with advanced chords. Commonly called “jazz” chords, these more sophisticated voicings find a wide use in all forms of music.

A Guide to Advanced Chords for Ukulele presents a highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of advanced chords. Chord dictionaries are not the answer. Even chord theory does not offer any insight into unraveling the complexity of Ukulele chord voicings.

If your goal is to expand your chord vocabulary, A Guide to Advanced Chords for Ukulele is your answer.

Granted, learning the notes of the fingerboard takes some time and work and learning the chord formule for chords takes time to know ehere the 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc are - but once done you are done and NEVER have to ask how too build ANY chord. A very liberatiing musicial point.

I point out to students that you can't look chords up on the bandstand or at a jam.

Check out the UkuleleLessons on chords.

My Tenor Ukulele Strings

Here are the strings that I've been using on my Tenor - low "G", C Tuning (G C E A).

These are guitar strings. I got the information from David Hurd's www.ukuleles.com web site.

Here is a link to a page on Tunings for the 4-String Tenor.

The strings he mentions are more guitar like. I really like them. They ARE guitar strings.

Mike Atkins of Alternate Tunings puts together a set based on David's web site recommendations.

Here is a summary of the information (enhanced) on David Hurd's site. David's site contains a lot of great information and is well worth a visit or two.

Pick style vs Finger Sytle on Ukulele. (my take)

As the uke has traditionally been mainly a rhythm-chord instrument played without a pick (we'll ingore the felt pick). As soon as picks or pick like techniques are used comparisions to the guitar are drawn.

Jake Shimabukuro uses his thumb like a flat pick for fast single note runs. He uses the same tech that a virtuoso guitar player might use, picking motion from elbow. He also has the finger-picking down.

Many virtuoso classical and fingerstyle guitarists can play fast single note runs with fingers but never as fast as most virtuoso flatpickers of the same level.

A guitarist that I really love, Tommy Emmanuel, does it all. Finger-style with thumb pick, finger style with a pick and fingers and flat picking. It all depends on the song. James Hill has that single note with a pick down and the fingerstyle as well. The later developed after his Langley stint where they played mostly, if not always with a pick.

I have uke arrangements that I practice using all three techniques and each sounds different. But I have never seen anyone approach the single note speed of flat pickers using picks. Even players using a thumb pick will support the thumb pick with the index finger when doing fast single note lines treatiing it just like a flat pick.

I tell all students that technique is like money. "You want more than you will ever need to be comfortable. You don't want to come up short going for something musically because of your technique." You can get the technique easier than the money.

Just do all three: pick, fingers and pick with fingers and let the music determine which one you use.

Chuck Anderson has been a virtuoso jazz guitarist since his early twenties. Chuck started to expand his repertoire with classicial music and ask Andres Segevio one day. "Being a virtisio guitarist with a pick. How long would it take to get to the same level with fingerstyle?" Segevio's reply - "Not enough lifetimes." So he did his classicial repetoire pick style.

So we can get good at various picking and plucking techniques. But to develope all three to a high level is a lot of work.

Some people will say that everyone is different and delevelope you own style. As far as technique that is false. Technique is what is the most bio-mechanically efficient way to pick, play fingerstyle and pick with fingers. If there is no overwhelming musicial reason to play one way or another - there IS effecient ways to play any instrument with minimimal effort and motion.

There is nothing in day-to-day life that automatically gives us good technique for playing the musicial instruments I'm familiar with. It is a learned skill.

Most instruments other than classicial guitar and definitely the uke do not have an established method to do stuff (technique). Pick guitar technique is probally not even 100 years old. Other instruments have centuries of established technique.

Michael Jordan said. "If you practice anything eight hours a day you are going to get good at it. Whether it is efficient or not."

Throw someone in a pool that can't swim and they might get out. Their technique won't look pretty and they are not going to made the Olympic team. But they will probally get by.

Alternate Chord Fingerings

There are no hard and fast rules for fingering chords as everyone's hands are different and different musical situations might require alternate fingerings. String spacing, string gauge and scale length also impact fingering choices.

There are alternate fingerings for most chords as well as alternate voicings. I advocate that one should be able to play most chords with alternate fingers for specific music possibilities. If there is no musical reason for fingering a note or notes why do it. Wasted energy, although small, still wasted.

Eb major at fret (3) is typically fingered 1 1 1 4 then naturally your barre will include string 1. But, depending on how flexible your joints are and using D at fret (2) as an example I can barre string 2 3 and 4 at fret (2) and have string 1 open. This is a tough fingering but possible.

Finger chords for what they ARE at the time and try to use the most efficient fingering and effort, taking in to account the next chord. Not - for possibilities that I may or may not do.

For fingering chords and scales if there is not overwhelming musical reason for something then do the most efficient fingering.

Other than the voice and rhythm, playing a musical instrument is not something that happens naturally. So one will not automatically do what is most efficient in the beginning on their own. And, after learning something one rarely goes back and revisits it to see if efficient technique was used.

Check out the UkuleleLessons on chords.

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

Content is always being added and updated. So check-in often. Thanks, Curt

Over 500+ lessons, 54 songs and TABS, 240+ archtop luthiers, 200+ ukulele builders, festival information, ukulele links on the web. On the web since the early 90's and growing everyday. This site just never stops growing!!!

[ UL0 ] (ukulele) FAQ.PHP | Updated: Friday, 11th April, 2014 @ 05:29pm • 15 Visitors On-line